SNAP Slams Decision by Utah Supreme Court in Mitchell v. Roberts
We are dismayed and disappointed by the decision in Mitchell v Roberts out of the Utah Supreme Court. This decision will only make it harder for victims of sexual abuse to come forward, put more children at risk of abuse, and prevent law enforcement from getting dangerous criminals out of the community.
The fact is that the reform bill overturned by this decision was a rare example of modern bipartisanship in which legislators from both parties, in both legislative chambers, as well as the executive branch, agreed that the state’s statute of limitations needed to be reformed. The resulting reform not only gave survivors of sexual violence hope for a shot at justice, but also helped to ensure that abusers could no longer hide behind archaic statute of limitations and escape from their crimes while living quietly among children and the vulnerable.
Now, despite the will of the people in Utah, victims are left in the cold. Our hearts break for Terry Mitchell, the brave survivor of childhood sexual abuse who fought for years for the rights of survivors, only to be denied a chance for justice by this example of judicial activism.
In order for victims to get justice following this disappointing ruling, the state constitution will need to be amended so that future legislation passes muster. We hope that those legislators who fought for this original reform will do so again on this new pathway demanded by the court, and we urge Utahans to work alongside their elected officials to support and pass these much-needed changes.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)